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Thursday, May 27, 2010

Profiteroles (Piece Montée)

What can be better than a profiterole? A mountain of profiteroles...
A combination of my mom’s recipe and the Daring Bakers May 2010 Challenge by Cat 
Taste 5 (out of 5)
Difficulty 2 (out of 5)
For the choux pastry
- 3/4 cup / 175 ml water
- 6 tbsp / 85 g unsalted butter (610 cal)
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp sugar (45 cal)
- 1 cup / 125 g all-purpose flour (455 cal)
- 4 large eggs (280 cal)
For the cream
- 2/3 cup sugar (555 cal)
- 2/3 cup flour (300 cal)
- 2/3 liter milk (345 cal)
- 2 large eggs (140 cal)
Total 2730 cal, 30 profiteroles, 90 cal/profiterole
For the pastry
1. Pre-heat oven to 425F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or silicon mat.
2. Combine water, butter, salt and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil and stir occasionally. At boil, remove from heat and add the flour, stirring to combine completely.
3. Return to heat and cook, stirring constantly until the batter dries slightly and begins to pull away from the sides of the pan.
4. Transfer to a bowl and stir with a wooden spoon 1 minute to cool slightly.
5. Add the eggs. As you stir, the batter will become dry-looking like lightly buttered mashed potatoes. It will also be very sticky.
6. Transfer batter to a pastry bag fitted with a large open tip (I piped directly from the bag opening without a tip). Pipe choux about 1 inch-part in the baking sheets. Choux should be about 1 inch high and 1 inch wide. Using a clean finger dipped in hot water, gently press down on any tips that have formed on the top of choux when piping. You want them to retain their ball shape, but be smoothly curved on top.
Alternatively, if you don’t have a piping bag, you can use 2 spoons to form the choux. Constantly dip the spoons into hot water to prevent the batter from sticking to them.
7. Bake the choux at 425F until well-puffed and turning lightly golden in color. This can take anywhere from 10 to 25 minutes so keep an eye on your choux. If you reduce the heat too soon the choux will sink and become soggy and wet (but it will still taste ok ;-) ). 
8. Lower the temperature to 350F and continue baking until well-colored and dry, about 20 minutes more. Remove to a rack and cool.
For the filling
9. Beat the eggs with the sugar and flour. Boil the milk. While the milk is warming, pour about 1/2 cup into the egg mix and stir well to gradually increase its temperature. This way the eggs won’t curdle when you add them to boiling milk. Repeat this step 2-3 more times as the milk approaches boiling temperature. 
10. Once the milk boils, pour the warm egg mix into the boiling milk, constantly stirring, to prevent lumps from forming. Keep on the stove for several 3 more minutes, continue stirring. It’s best to use hand held mixer in this stage.
11. Remove the cream from heat, let cool.
12. Cut the chilled choux in half with a sharp, dry knife. Scoop some of the cream with a spoon, fill the pastry and replace the upper half on top. 
13. Assemble your piece montée and pour melted chocolate on top for decoration. 
- I loved the final result - the only downside: it’s way too easy to finish all the mountain in one go :-). And since it’s a mountain, why not put a mountain goat on it (my boyfriend’s idea)?
- This is my second profiterole mountain this month. The first time I was experimenting with a chocolate - Irish cream filling. It was nice, especially after a night in the fridge, but I guess the classic cream is still my favorite.  
- I used Cat’s recipe for the choux, and my mom’s recipe for the cream. It’s all about minimizing the butter - Cat’s choux has a little less of it, and my mom’s cream has no butter at all. In some cases removing the butter results in a pretty sad taste, but I really think my mom’s cream is the best one for profiteroles and Napoleons. The butter only adds calories and at best does not add any taste. 
Blog-checking lines: The May 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Cat of Little Miss Cupcake. Cat challenged everyone to make a piece montée, or croquembouche, based on recipes from Peter Kump’s Baking School in Manhattan and Nick Malgieri.

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Friday, May 14, 2010

Chile and Chicken Enchilada

A May 2010 Daring Cooks challenge - a complete Mexican meal with everything made from scratch, including flour tortillas. 
Adapted from the May 2010 Daring Cooks challenge by Barbara and Bunnee
Taste 4 (out of 5)
Difficulty 5 (out of 5)
For the sauce
- 4 jalapeno peppers (15 cal)
- 4 tomatoes (60 cal)
- 3 small canned tomatoes (25 cal) - I added later because the sauce was way too spicy
- 1/3 cup corn kernels (45 cal)
- 2 tbsp lemon juice (10 cal)
- 2 cups chicken broth (20 cal)
- 1 clove garlic, minced (5 cal)
- 2 tsp yellow onion, minced (5 cal)
- 1 tsp diced oregano
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- 1/8 tsp black pepper
- 2 tbsp cornstarch diluted in 2 tbsp water
- 3 chicken thighs, boneless, skinless (330 cal)
- 2 tbsp Canola oil (240 cal)
- 4 oz Cheddar cheese (480 cal)
- cilantro for garnish
For flour tortillas (makes 9 small tortillas)
- 1 cup all purpose flour (455 cal)
- 3/4 cup whole wheat flour (300 cal)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp baking powder
- 30 g, about 1/4 avocado (50 cal)
- 1 tbsp olive oil (120 cal)
- 1/2 cup almost boiling water 
Total 2160, 3 enchiladas, 720 cal / enchilada
Grilling the chicken
1. Pour 1 tbsp of oil into a medium sized frying pan and when it heats up add the chicken thighs. Roast for about 7-8 minutes on each side over medium heat. Remove ready chicken from the pan and shred with a fork. Set aside
For the sauce
2. Wash the jalapenos, dry and brush with a little bit of oil. Place on an aluminum foil lined baking sheet and broil for 20 minutes, rotating the jalapenos every 5 minutes. They should be black and charred. Place the grilled chiles in a small bowl and cover with a towel, let rest for 10-15 minutes. Now the skin should be easy to peel with your fingers. I recommend using rubber gloves, especially if your skin is sensitive. Cut the jalapenos in half and remove the seeds. Do not rinse the jalapenos. Finely chopped the peeled and seeded peppers and set aside.
3. Place the garlic and the onion in a food processor and mince. Add the tomatoes and pulse until the tomatoes are finely chopped. 
4. Move the onions, garlic and tomatoes to a saucepan along with the chicken broth, lemon juice, chopped green chiles, corn, oregano, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and then reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
5. Add the cornstarch/water mixture and stir well. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is thickened for another 10-15 minutes. Adjust seasonings.
For the tortillas
6. In a medium bowl combine the flours, the salt and the baking powder. Add the avocado and the oil and work in with a fork. Pour in the hot water in small batches mixing with your hands. Knead the dough for about 5 minutes, cover the bowl with a towel and let rest for 20-30 minutes. 
7. Divide the dough into small balls (the size of a ping-pong ball). Let rest for another 10 minutes under the towel. 
8. On a clean working surface, place a dough ball, press with your palm to flatten and then using a rolling pin roll into a circle. The dough is not sticky and you don’t need to flour the working surface or the pin. 
9. Once all the tortillas are rolled out, preheat a large skillet to medium-high heat. No need to grease the skillet. Place a tortilla on a skillet and once bubbles appear on the tortilla (in about 30-60 seconds), flip it. Again, when the bubbles appear and the tortilla puffs, press it with a spatula and remove from the heat. You can make several tortillas in one skillet, if there is enough room, as long as the tortillas do not overlap. 
Assembling the enchilada
10. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Shred the cheese.
11. In a baking dish large enough to hold 3 separate stacks of tortillas, ladle a thin layer of sauce. 12. Lay three tortillas in the dish and ladle a third of sauce over the tortillas. Place half of the chicken and a third of the cheese. 
13. Stack another three tortillas, top with the rest of the chicken, more sauce and another third of the cheese. Finish with the third tortilla, topped with the remaining sauce and cheese.
14. Bake until the sauce has thickened and the cheese melted, about 20 minutes. Let rest for 5-10 minutes.
15. To serve, transfer each stack to a plate. Spoon any leftover sauce over the stacks and sprinkle with cilantro, if you wish. The stacks may also be cooked in individual gratin dishes.
- First of all thanks to Barbara and Bunnee for the challenge, especially from my boyfriend, who loves Mexican food! I don’t think I would have dared to build these enchilada towers without this challenge. And I’ve wanted to make tortillas for a while, so this was a great opportunity. 
- I could not find the Anaheim chiles and the tomatillos required by this recipe, so I used jalapenos and tomatoes. 
- The sauce turned out way too hot for me, so I started looking for things to add to it to dilute the spice. I had corn and canned tomatoes at hand, and they did help to reduce the heat a little. I also used only part of the sauce on the enchiladas, and served guacamole on the side. With all these adjustments, the spice level was manageable. But next time it might be easier to just use less chiles :-).

Blog Checking Lines: Our hosts this month, Barbara of Barbara Bakes and Bunnee of Anna+Food have chosen a delicious Stacked Green Chile & Grilled Chicken Enchilada recipe in celebration of Cinco de Mayo! The recipe, featuring a homemade enchilada sauce was found and written by Robb Walsh.

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